Thursday 8 August 2019

The Ticket Machine Says No

I was light heartedly accused in my last post of going soft! Andrew, I think you'll see I'm well and truly back to type.

First Eastern Counties have announced a ream of changes to their Ipswich network. It's not good news for anyone I can see, but good news for FEC who have been able to reduce their PVR.

So how have First reached the decisions to further streamline services and abandon more people to next to no service. Well, they claim on their website:

"These changes are based on feedback from passengers, local stakeholders and our local driving team as well as extensive analysis of passenger journeys and punctuality of our services." 

Ok, that's as you'd expect, basic jargon for "we say we've listened but everyone knows the truth" But it's the next paragraph that caught my eye, sent blood pressure stratospheric, and confirmed what I already knew.

"Our new ticket machines, introduced in May 2018, allow us to collect more detailed data on where and when people travel than has ever been possible in the past and we have carried out a detailed analysis of all of this information when designing these changes; many of which are intended to bring simpler, quicker and more direct journeys for the majority of passengers as well as ensuring the long-term sustainability of our network that is operated almost entirely without any sort of local authority subsidy."

I'm sorry? Name any other business that operates dependent on local authority subsidy! Are you after medals or something? Plus any subsidy that is given isn't to prop up your business but to give those poor sods who don't live on housing estates some sort of bus service. Except you're now going to abandon some housing estates too. But it's not just that. 

This is proof beyond all reasonable doubt that First are not interested in gaining new customers, in looking for new ground to break, to be innovative, enterprising, ambitious. No, this is proof that First are settling for what they've got, that they want to keep "the majority of passengers" happy, hoping they don't desert them too.

So let's go through these changes. 

Shuttle 60|60A

Gainsborough (60A) & Greenwich (60) - Nacton Road - Ipswich Town Centre

We’re making some minor changes to times of buses on both 60 and 60A services in the mid afternoon to better meet demand at this time of day.

Not too much here, except now the frequency reduces from every 10 mins to every 15 mins at 1500 instead of 1600. So "better meet demand" means 2 buses being cut.

Service 63|64|65 & Service 800 to Rendlesham

Aldeburgh - Leiston - Saxmundham - Wickham Market - Melton & Woodbridge - Ipswich Hospital - Ipswich Town Centre

We’ll be introducing a new timetable across all of these services, to better match them to the journeys that people are making.

Service 64 will continue to operate between Ipswich, Leiston and Aldeburgh up to every hour throughout the day from Monday to Saturday calling at Woodbridge, Melton, Wickham Market and Saxmundham. However, buses will take a new, faster route through Woodbridge using Warren Hill Road and Old Barrack Road and will no longer travel along Newnham Road, Peterhouse Crescent and Bullard’s Lane from where only very small numbers of passengers use the bus each day.

Service 64 buses will also no longer serve Martlesham Black Tiles, and will travel between Woodbridge and the Martlesham Heath roundabout via the A12. Service 65 will operate a limited number of journeys each day that provide a link to Martlesham Tesco.

Service 800 (Ipswich Park & Ride) will no longer be extended beyond the park and ride site to Woodbridge, Melton and Rendlesham. Rendlesham will be served by buses on Service 65 which will operate a number of journeys throughout the day at the times when the majority of people are travelling, and will call at all stops to Ipswich town centre.

We will be operating a revised service 63 beyond Wickham Market to Framlingham with a return ‘shoppers’ journey on weekdays, arriving in Ipswich at around 1100 and leaving at 1405.

This is the biggie, so let's go through this one carefully. Starting with the 64, my home route, if you can call 6 miles away home!

When I moved to Wickham Market, some 11 years ago now, there were 3 buses an hour between Ipswich and Melton. The majority of passengers boarded or alighted around the Peterhouse Crescent area. You never missed a stop on that section of route, and remember at that time the 165 was still operating fast services between Woodbridge and Ipswich. Gradually services have been eradicated, changed then changed again. From September the Peterhouse estate will have none. Nothing. Zilch. Cut off. How on Earth has it been allowed to come to this!

The link from Wickham Market to Martlesham Tesco has also finally vanished, and the result of this is the 64 has been sped up between Woodbridge and Ipswich via the A12. Or has it. Let's go compare! Currently the journey from Ipswich to Wickham Market takes 67 minutes, which is a lot for a journey that can take as little as 25 in the car. After September it will take 56, which I'm sure is roughly what it took 10 years ago! There is still a 2 hour pm gap on schooldays in the Aldeburgh services, just at the time people want to be returning, which when joint promotions with the trains are happening isn't great. Speaking of the trains, connections between bus and train at Saxmundham have declined again, and with the last bus leaving Ipswich at 1750 the Ipswich bound pm journeys are going to be woefully empty. If you can't get back by bus you aren't going to go there by bus. If I was a mum anywhere on the route wanting to take the kids to a matinee at the cinema followed by a McDonalds going both ways by bus I couldn't. If I was a student at college who had a lecture finishing at 6pm (it happens) I couldn't use the bus. If I was a worker not doing 9 - 5 I couldn't use the bus. Who are the buses aimed at? Pass holders? The same pass holders operators whinge about because they don't get enough back for them!

Rendlesham is suffering again too, and this is a place I truly can't understand. It should be heaving with bus passengers, it's prime bus territory - miles from anywhere. At the moment it's part of the extended Ipswich Park & Ride, but not from September. From what I can make out from the complicated timetable they are down to 3 buses a day into Ipswich, and just 2 from Ipswich. Roger French, Bus and Train User recently caught the 800 hoping to get to Rendlesham at 0930 to connect with Buckland's vintage 250 service to Aldeburgh. Delays forced him to bail at Melton and get the train to Saxmundham, but according to the timetable, which I hope is misprinted, the first bus to Rendlesham now arrives at 1440. 

But the crowning glory, the one that proves how spectacularly out of touch FEC are, is the 63, and the proud announcement of the shoppers return to Ipswich, giving customers 3 hours in the County Town. Firstly no one ever used the 63 to get from Framlingham to Ipswich. They used it to get to Woodbridge or Wickham Market, or occasionally Martlesham, which is why the soon to be scrapped 62 doesn't go further than Woodbridge. And why is that? Because the 63 takes 87 minutes to get from Framlingham to Tower Ramparts in Ipswich. Galloway's 118/119 which operates from Framlingham to Ipswich 10 times a day takes 43 minutes. But First assume everyone will be galloping onto the 63. Incredible. Framlingham doesn't need another bus to Ipswich. I know what it does need, but I doubt it will ever happen. 

Service 66 (including X66|H66|67)

Service 66 buses will operate a simplified route around Martlesham Heath, starting at Tesco and travelling via Gloster Road to serve Adastral Park and then returning to Martlesham Heath roundabout via the A12. Unfortunately, due to the extremely low numbers of people travelling, buses will no longer serve Eagle Way. Passengers from this area should use service 173, operated by Ipswich Buses on behalf of Suffolk County Council.

In Ipswich town centre, buses travelling between Tower Ramparts and Ipswich Rail Station will now travel via Civic Drive not Museum Street. Buses travelling towards Martlesham will no longer go into Old Cattle Market Bus Station, and will instead use the stop at Dogs Head Street/Revolution.

Service X66, fast between Ipswich and BT/Adastral Park will no longer operate although there will be four journeys on service 66 in the morning on weekdays that will operate direct to BT/Adastral Park (Gloster Road) before serving Martlesham Tesco. In addition, four service 800 journeys will operate between Ipswich town centre and BT/Adastral Park in the weekday mornings, following the normal direct route along Woodbridge Road and Kesgrave Main Road.

There will be a revised timetable on services 67 and H66.

This is another route so badly mismanaged over the years it beggars belief. Remember the Superoute66 buses? Nothing super about it now. It used to be a 24 hour service. Now the evening service isn't worth bothering with. Instead of wondering why patronage in the Eagle Way area is poor (blindingly obvious btw as served on a circular route so can get back from Tesco but can't get there and if coming back from Ipswich have to sit for an age at Tesco before getting home) and doing something about it the service is just being withdrawn. Alternating the circular route obviously never entered anyone's head because the ticket machines won't have come up with that.

Losing the X66 makes sense, as the 800's out of town in the mornings are always empty. However there are no return 800 journeys from Adastral park in the afternoons. "Catch the 800 to work but make your own way home" seems to be the message,

There is, however, one mitigating factor in the demise of the 66. Ipswich depot. The roof STILL hasn't been dealt with so STILL can accommodate nothing except low height deckers, meaning 16yo B7tl's are operating the route. By now it should be modern deckers with all mod cons like chargers, tables, aircon, posh seats etc. That roof is a Head Office issue, not local, but even so I don't think much effort has gone into promoting or growing the route in recent times.

Service 68

Grange Farm - Kesgrave - Ipswich Hospital - Ipswich Town Centre

Due to the extremely small numbers of people travelling since its’ introduction in July 2017, unfortunately this service will be withdrawn.

Not surprising, was poorly used even in the days of the 165. 

Service 88|89

Stowmarket Town Centre & Estates - Combs Ford - Needham Market - Claydon - Ipswich Town Centre

As a result of an extremely detailed analysis of the use of our buses between Ipswich and Stowmarket, we will be introducing a completely revised service and timetable to allow faster journeys between the main points on the route, better meeting the needs of the majority of passengers.

All buses will operate as service 88, following a standard route travelling from Ipswich along Norwich Road, Old Norwich Road and then calling at Claydon (The Greyhound) and travelling through Needham Market along Lower Street, Ipswich Road, High Street and Stowmarket Road. From there buses will call at Combs Ford, Cracknells Shop, then following Ipswich Road into Stowmarket.

This faster, more direct route will reduce journey times between Ipswich and Needham Market to just 31 minutes and Ipswich and Stowmarket to just 45 minutes.

Within Stowmarket buses will operate a simplified loop via Finborough Road, Onehouse Road and Chilton Way. Buses will then serve the new Northfield View development at the bottom of Chilton Way, via Bury Road, Brooke Road and Sorley Way, returning to Stowmarket town centre via Bury Road.

As a result of these changes, our buses will no longer serve Bramford Road, Bramford village, Claydon Estate, either estate in Needham Market, Melford Road/Lavenham Way in Combs Ford and St Edmunds Road/Mead Road/St Peters Road/Gainsborough Road/Thirlmere Drive in Stowmarket.

In all cases this is because of the extremely small numbers of people using our buses to and from these areas, the majority of which are within walking distance of an alternative bus stop, sometimes only reaching low single figures each week. Bramford village will be served by service 111 operated by Ipswich Buses on behalf of Suffolk County Council.

Stowmarket has really suffered in the latest round of cuts, and rather than see where they can pick up new custom, First have decided to join in and abandon several estates to reduce journey times and the number of buses required. Proudly proclaiming Ipswich to Stowmarket only taking 45 minutes now, achieved by missing out many of the customer bases, and conveniently forgetting the train does it in 11 minutes starting earlier and finishing far later. Last bus from Ipswich to Stowmarket is 1745, so same issues as the 64. Oh - and Ipswich Buses 111 serving Bramford? 3 return journeys a day!

So there we have it. On top of that Ipswich Reds are now a thing, the colour red being so synonymous with the town....oh hang on that's not right is it....anyway the new design is red and looks very Go Aheadish. That will get 'em flocking on, don't know why you didn't rry green and yellow! 

It is well known that First Group want to sell off their bus operations. It can't happen soon enough. Having seen FEC improve no end under David Squire and the jointly under Chris Speed and Hugo Forster it seems over the last couple of years that hard work has been undone. Services are deteriorating, buses looking tattier - whatever happened to that brilliant cleaning regime developed by Paulo Mota - complaints about poor driver attitude going up. I am convinced it has more to do with the blinkered regime in Aberdeen than decisions taken locally, not that anyone would admit it out of loyalty, understandably so, but until the bus operations are in the hands of people who actually give a stuff as usual the passenger will suffer more than most. And when estates start being axed you know there's real trouble, as well as when ticket machine data replaces proper research and development.

So my message to First Group is, in the words of The Moody Blues, if you're gonna go you'd better go now - go now, before you see me cry.


  1. Don't worry there are still more cuts to come. Beestons have hacked away at their Ipswich to Sudbury service which will go down to every two ours. It is also axing the service from of Great Cornard. The 91 used to be a very busy route but the constant cuts have driven passengers away. They will be running additional short journeys between Hadleigh and Ipswich but I doubt they will be viable. I tried to work out how they operated the timetable it seems to make no sense the buses sit around for 40 minutes after each long journey

    I think the 92 will be gone within the year

    If you look at the service in Suffolk only three towns get at least a basic service and those towns are Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmonds they get more services than all the rest of Suffolk put together

    Suffolk on Board List about a 196 routes but a good percentage of them are single journey school and college routes of no real use to anyone, then there is a significant number of routes that just do one or two journeys a week or on random days some only operate once a month

    AS you point out most routes are only of use to schoolchildren going to and from school and concessionary pass holders so they are limiting themselves to a small part of the potential market and even pensioners are giving up on buses in spite of getting free travel as the services are so bad

    If bus companies cannot successfully run bus services in sizable towns in Suffolk what hope is their for them

    The one thing we can be sure of is there will more cuts over the next twelve months and another September cull next year

    Konect bus are also making changes in September. Does not seem to be to significant though

    1. Here's a long standing passengers view of the 91.

      The 07.55 bus from Hadleigh in the morning was probably losing a fortune. A driver said to me in term time it could take 15-20 people and outside term time it struggles to make double figures. Sometimes there are less than half a dozen on there and that bus could never keep running like that.

      There are only five services that do better than break even on a regular basis on current timetable, they are the 06:45 and 07:45 from Sudbury and the 15:45, 17:15 and 18:15 from Ipswich, the later of which is the worst performing out of that lot but at least it carries a number of fare paying passengers.

      Everything else in term time is about 80% travel pass, which is a large part of the problem. Those services are only viable because of the fact the free passengers who the council don't pay a fair amount for, are being subsidised by the commuters that are paying regular fares. This is like many bus services in Suffolk, where the working man pays ever increasing fares to subsidise those who wish to travel for free during the day and leads to some people being priced out of taking the bus.

      On the subject of fares and lack of proper local authority support, Beestons have been told that SCC will no longer be supporting the 971 which they will now run commercially and there will also be other as yet unconfirmed indirect funding cuts. All this will result in both the 91 and 971 single fares increasing by 50p, returns by £1 and 10 journey tickets by an eye watering £4.50.

      At the end of the day we can crow about the state of bus services in Suffolk all wee like, but ultimately central government and local government need to start properly paying for passengers they are issuing free travel to. The current situation where prices are hiked up more and more for the commuter to cover the shortfall must be stopped.

      The one thing I will say positive about Beestons though is their vehicles are maintained well and their drivers are a good bunch.

    2. The new timetable that reduces the service to every 2 hours and the fares increase will in my view finish that service off as will the timetable as well which appear to give 40 minutes stand time

      THe service was very busy until Beestons started messing around with the timetable. It is a service that should be profitable and should be able to support say a 40 minute service. Much of the problem is the fares are excusive and the route makes to many detours and the service is to infrequent. It means only a few pensioners and the occasionbal shopper use it

      THe route also competes against Chambers & Ipswich bus at either end they charge much lower fares. I don't see the 91 lasting more than 12 months at least not with Beestons operating it

    3. It's clear that you don't use the 91 a lot. I'm someone who uses it to commute to work every week for the last 5 years over a number of different services on that route and I do not recognise your observations.

      Even when the service was every hour between Sudbury and Ipswich, outside the first two buses from Sudbury an the last three from Ipswich there were minimal fare payers during the day. It was 80% OAPs and a good percentage of the rest students traveling on cut price tickets.

      The route between Sudbury to Hadleigh has even higher percentage of that of free travel pass holders in the day and less fare payers even on the peak services. Often Sudbury to Hadleigh, at an hourly frequency , passenger numbers ware in single figures.

      Not sure where the competition with Ipswich Buses is because the only place the two run parallel would be Hadleigh Road to Ipswich and onwards, and Beestons of course are going to have a disincentive for inner Ipswich travel because otherwise on the peak services you'd have people taking short trips taking up capacity from people going to Hadleigh or Sudbury who are then unable to board at peak times.

      As for stand time, it varies sometimes it is 5 minutes, sometimes 20 minutes and sometimes double that It's almost like it's been designed around driving hour regulations, fancy that. Also if you're wondering about the duty with a 2 hour gap in the afternoon from 14:50 to 16:55, it's doing a school run in between apparently.

      White might be the new blue, apparently, too......

  2. Of course, you just know I am going to agree with the Framlingham comments. Passengers aren't exactly flooding the 118/119 so bugger knows why anyone would get a 63 to Ipswich. ( I did it once on a Volvo B6, only once mind!!!!)

    1. Of course a 63 to Wickham Market station that connected with the trains would be too convenient wouldn't it!

  3. Shock, horror, Steve: I'm going to agree that your points are well made.

    The problem is they are the argument why a Mayor or the County Council should provide deficit financing to support commercial services in Suffolk. Until they do . . .

    Eastern Counties are taking a big gamble. Will passenger use decline even faster as the bus becomes more inconvenient, or will enough passengers be attracted by even slightly faster and simpler routes? I don't know.

    We can lead a horse to water, but we can't make it drink. If on a commercial service the local route extension isn't generating the income to wash its face, then what is the operator supposed to do? Take Rendlesham as an example. It ought to be good bus territory. It clearly isn't. Two years is enough time to wait for a service to establish itself, I don't know any commercial operator that could afford to wait longer (nor any Council for that matter) - 6 months is the usual.

    All I can say from experience with Stagecoach in Cambs, Arriva and Uno in Herts, and elsewhere in the Country is that I see the same thing as with Eastern Counties in Suffolk, even in apparent "better" bus territory. And I'm talking about over the last 40 years with their predecessors, not just "austerity".

    Admittedly, First Essex seem to manage higher frequencies and later commercial services into the mid evening, beyond 7 or 8pm which they keep with their September alterations, just published. I'm still not sure how they manage it (though it would be too unkind to say they don't with their well known quality of service issues). But their routes too, tend to be more "direct". I suspect that London commuters may have something to do with it - but any similar effect in Suffolk is limited to the Ipswich buses town network. Suffolk as I recall always had early finishes. Habits are hard to break. Certainly the stark contrast between town and suburb/country/interurban services around Cambridge is similar if not even more pronounced.

    That's why I gave a qualified muted cheer to Eastern Counties, for doing what perhaps they can, not so much what they should. Of course I will not even try to hide my contempt for First Bus HQ and First Group, who are utterly clueless. Their OpCo management have, in that respect, my deepest sympathy as they try to cope. I can only pray that, whatever the future holds, they end up with a supportive owner. Not before time.

  4. So why on earth do Eastern Counties (and a lot of other operators besides) end up cutting their nose to spite their face, it seems? I don't believe they set out to do it deliberately. They're not mad, despite everything.

    They are worshiping at the altar of the God of Reliability. Convenience is the sacrificial lamb. Wrongly? We all want reliability and convenience, but it needs resources we just don't have. It's the same for Stagecoach, but worse for First. Long term mismanagement, at the highest level. We all know.

    Nothing, I suspect, is worse for morale than asking your staff to do an impossible job, and nothing puts passengers off more than a bus service they can't rely on. The Devil is congestion, but even if we can't avoid it why do we have to make things worse by sending buses round the houses "unnecessarily"?

    It's a blessing when we can incorporate the estate runs to bypass the congestion. But that's not how development is designed. An estate made permeable for buses means a rat run for the cars. What do the residents want? I suspect I know where their priority lies. I can't criticise their choice.

    Tough choices for tough questions.

    We used to manage it. From personal experience we are less patient, and less tolerant. Unfortunately. And many of the "old" traditional bus passengers have moved away, or passed away, sadly. The new generation have to learn. But it takes time.

  5. Personally I can never get inspired by FEC. A great splash of publicity about a wonderful new ( looking very much like other groups efforts) livery then cuts in routes .

  6. Just received this from a Melton resident who wishes to remain anonymous. Many thanks!!

    Hi Steve. I've just seen your recent blog everything so well put. We're not as bad as some but Rendlesham buses would send me to an early grave or a quick goodbye to the area. How dare they cut people off like that And in other areas
    - I find it so sad. Not everyone drives my eyes are weird (probably allergic to Melton) johns had a gouty finger and doesn't like driving far as we get older parts of use disintegrate. Excellent blog so well put. If you want to précis this you can do so but not my name just use anonymous!! Cheers x

  7. All the criticism about the loss of services is fair. So I'll apologise in advance for this post which is going to upset you all, but perhaps some things need to be said. The truth always hurts, as my grandmother used to say.

    But First, and any other commercial operator for that matter, isn't a charity or social services. The legal obligation to pay and secure necessary bus services which the market doesn't provide is on the Councils, not the Company. Sorry. Elsewhere, locally in Essex and Hertfordshire (and the Cambridgeshire Mayor) for instance, they do step in nothwithstanding their financial difficulties.

    I understand that we all, as taxpayers, don't want to pay taxes. So only too well do the politicians. We'll vote for anyone who promises to cut them, and to spend money he doesn't have. We want a sugar daddy.

    We would rather the shareholders pay, or perhaps cut the drivers wages (as long as we aren't one)? Perhaps we forget that they are the investments that pay our pensions. So let's take a cut in our pensions to save the buses, hey? Who is going to volunteer?

    Yes, it is cruel not to have what we want because we aren't prepared to pay for it. Just ask any baby.

    As my parents told me as a youngster "You think money grows on trees. It doesn't". Growing up, I knew that I didn't. But what I didn't appreciate was that everybody else does, apparently. (I suffer from gout and a heart condition which restricts driving, too).

    1. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear! No Smurfy, it is not a charity or social services, so they should stop bleating about lack of council funding, get off their backsides, and go and look for new custom like any other business does. But they won't unless other operators find them first. I have identified plenty of potential money trees, but like Ron Weasley they are too scared to follow the spiders into the forest where the trees are, preferring the butterflies in the park, occasionally muscling in on someone else's ball game.

  8. Steve,

    If you look at Suffolkonboard at the moment, you will see that the link to future timetables does not work for the 88. Until it was removed (yesterday/ today?) there was was one which showed the basic half hourly service as per the new Eastern Counties timetable PLUS an hourly service 89 which went round the estates in Needham Market and Claydon and then went via Bramford in to Ipswich. It seems to have been timed so as not to take passengers away from the 88. Were EC hoping in vain for the Council to pay for this?

    It's a very interesting question as to whether bus routes should operate straight down the main road or go round the estates. If you are young and fit (and a paying passenger) you may prefer to walk to a main bus stop and get a quicker journey in to town. If like me, you are old and decrepit (and with a bus pass) then you might prefer the bus coming nearer to home even if it is slower. I can however tell you that if, as a passenger, you go round the Needham estates, then the Claydon estate and finally via Bramford, then it is slow and boring!

    Galloway are cancelling the Sunday service on the 88 which they operate as the 87.

    1. Lol yes I've done all the estates and you are right, so surely an hourly fast service and an hourly one round the estates?

      As for the Sunday service the Council helpfully pointed out that the alternative was the end to end that's ok then.

    2. I've now dug out my Winter 1938 ECOC timetable to compare running times with the new First Eastern Counties service. Both have a journey leaving Ipswich at 2.45pm (1445) as follows-

      Ipswich Old Cattle Market 2.45pm(1445)
      Claydon Crown 3.03pm (Greyhound 1506)
      Great Blakenham Chequers 3.07pm (1509)
      Needham Market Swan 3.18pm (1516)
      Stowmarket Market Place 3.30pm (1530)

      It will be seen that after eighty one years the service will still have exactly the same running time! Travel via Bramford and all the estates would add 13 minutes to the running time to give a total of 58 minutes.

      On inward journeys, First still use the "Crown" as the timing point at Claydon so, in that direction, all the landmarks used as the main timing points are unchanged.

  9. Hi Steve just to let you know that Stevensons are running the 387 service from Stowmarket via Elmswell old Newton to Bury service a till further notice with there drivers and vehicles

  10. I thought that was the 385? 384 misses out Old Newton. Short of buses or drivers or both? Oh and not great when a driver is heard to say that he can't be bothered with change!!!!

    1. The service side of galloways is Stevensons bar the name the drivers are on a low wage and are leaving as a lot of operators are ofteing a lot more money that is the main reason Stevensons are doing the bury service I would be very surprised if galloways get it back plus its registered under galloways. But as you know Stevensons own the name. The few new drivers that do come they are put on national express

    2. Thanks. Only asking because I use Galloway between Fram and Ipswich. Had noticed a lot of drivers don't seem to stay long!

  11. Irrelevant to East Anglia I know, but just thought this may be interest. In my home city of Durham, North Carolina, the local transit authority does take the traveling public's comments seriously. We've lived here for nearly fourteen years and services have improved steadily with annual increases in ridership - and the flat fare is STILL only $1. Take a look:

  12. Konect have 3 brand new Enviro 400 MMCs coming in October.

    These will primarily be on 3/6/8.

    3/6 will have 1 as PVR increased from 5 to 6 when they extended some journeys to Thetford; and PVR on 8 has gone from 5 to 7 when frequency increased.

    My konect contacts are not sure what the livery will be yet (some suggest will be similar to the 8), but they will not be branded for any service in particular (due to some interworkings) but they will predominately be on those routes.

  13. Some minor changes in Clacton they all seem to related to a number of school contract routes now being taken on commercially

  14. More joyous news....

  15. Eagle Way has gained a slight reprieve!

    One bus per hour (numbered 66A) will not call at Tesco, but will travel via Gloster Road and operate along the length of Eagle Way before returning to Martlesham Heath roundabout.

    In the evenings and on Sundays, all buses will operate as a 66, following the route via Tesco, Gloster Road and A12.

  16. Good news for residents of Eagle Way in Martlesham. The first website states they are running a 66A which will travel there once per hour.

  17. Galloways Surrendering many of their routes

    Galloways will be ceasing three services (routes 87, 377, and 386) as part of the county council's shake-up of rural bus services. The 118/119 services to Framlingham are due to finish at the start of November.

    Now it has told the county that it will be withdrawing from the 112, 113, 114, 115, and 116 services from Ipswich to Diss, Eye, Mendlesham and Debenham on October 18.

    The county had not said these services were at risk - so they will be put out to tender and it is hoped that they will continue to operate in a similar way to what is happening now.

  18. First bus the last bit

    "Riverside & Rail Station - City Centre - Unthank Road (25) or Earlham Road (26) - UEA - N&NU Hospital (26)

    As a result of generally low numbers of people travelling, the Blue Line 25 service towards the city centre leaving the University at 2310 will no longer operate.

    Please note that due to the costs involved we will not be reproducing or reprinting timetables or roadside information to reflect this change."

    Let's hope that nobody reads the timetable at the bus stop and waits for it!

  19. They can't even go out with a marker pen to cross it out!

  20. I was in Ipswich (for the first time) the other week, and spent an evening there. Going back to the station for a train back to London midweek, and the town was deserted. I passed through the Cattle Market bus station, and there were two people in the bus station waiting for evening services. If there is nothing in town to keep people there, I'm not especially surprised that there were few buses running...

  21. The entertainment areas are now pushed away from the town centre in Ipswich .

  22. Mostly ... there is still the Corn Exchange, the Buttermarket cinema, and the Wolsey Theatre isn't far off.